Why we all need pain … seriously?

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You know, maybe you don’t, but when you are in the proverbial corner, sobbing the eyes out at your miserable life, in the dark hours of the morning, you, like me, start reading ALL the inspirational stuff of ‘how to get your life back’ or ‘beginning again in your fifties’ sort of stuff.  Ted talks comes to mind.  Grabbing at anything positive until the sun rises and the Amazon returns to your camp.  Did it all the time … when I couldn’t face the reality of what was, what a sh…t storm my life had become.  It works. I was not alone.

But, and I have pondered over this one for a few days, when an article comes along, well meant it may be, that says …’Why we all need pain’ – I just could not buy into that one.

For starters – NO ONE needs pain. Pain is horrible, insidious, breaking of body and spirit, just bloody awful. NO ONE needs pain. Not ever.  And I say this because:

  • We spend our lives avoiding it.  Make decisions NOT to inflict it on others and try not to ever be the recipient of it.  
  • It happens, but it is never a good thing.  So you get through it, grow, change direction, not from a positive place, but from a ‘have no bloody option’ place.  
  • Spend your life guarding your children from it.  From the bullying at school, the humiliation of coming last, being chided and mocked – you build castles, fortresses, to protect your children from it.
  • When life happens and pain comes, your children are part of it.  Do you want to tell them, darling you need pain to grow?  I don’t agree – you need optimism and praise to grow, pain distorts, lessens, breeds suspicion. Your children become hardened from pain inflicted upon them.  You do too.
  • Some parts of life involve pain.  Losing your parents, a natural phenomenon to deal with. Your child no longer wants your hugs and prefers being dropped off at school away from friends in the growing up phase.  Natural pain. Getting older, natural pain. Family pets dying, natural pain.  Losing your job – sort of natural pain.
  • Inflicting pain on others. Not natural.  I have done this and regret it dearly, but do I turn to those I hurt and say ‘ Pain is good for you, I have done this for you to grow’ , of course not – I have to live with it and make it better to avoid further pain.
  • I quote: ‘By shifting the focus from yourself to something else, you’ll learn how to gradually let go of your pain and move on.’ Should we not be doing this anyway?  Believe me, when pain comes to stay, there is nothing or no-one in the wallowing but yourself.  Not capable of focussing on anyone else, even puppies, it is all about moi and how you are going to get through the day. Look at literature etc, those in pain, wrote only for the angst – were they going to do charitable acts, visit the elderly etc.  When pain and depression strikes, it is all about you, and only you, and how to put your feet into the shoes in the morning.  Pretty much useless to anyone else.
  • Some forms of pain, like a terminal illness is the worst kind. There is no growth, only despair – don’t sugar coat it with platitudes of growth and insight. It’s scary and awful and no-one should go through it.
  • Physical pain like childbirth and triathlons are a means to a better end. Opted for pain.  Any other form of pain, unexpected or deliberate in giving is rubbish pain.

So, pain may make you re-evalutate, grow, change direction but it is never without scars.  

Scars are never pretty, never.  Even if you cannot see them.

Scars fade. We do move on, and we are optimistic and enthusiastic about life when the time comes. We are never the same when pain takes hold of our lives – and I for one, do not welcome it. Life is too precious to inflict or receive pain.  Let us rather not patronise pain – let us seek to avoid it.

I love reading uplifting articles, need them at times, but let us be realistic and tell it like it is. Pain is bad for everyone.

Image: Arianna Huffington